The Washington Times - March 19, 2008, 12:56PM
Vice President CheneyU.S. SEE RELATED:


Q: So there are no consequences, it just goes on until — as long as it lasts? You let the Iraqis go and go and go, even —

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THE VICE PRESIDENT: What if we quit two years ago or three years ago?

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Q: So it could be 10 years?

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THE VICE PRESIDENT: I don’t know how long it’s going to take. I do know we have to get it done. And if it takes a long time, that doesn’t make it any less worthwhile. This has been a hard-fought, difficult, challenging thing for us to do, when you think about what we’ve done here. We’ve gone in and toppled one of the world’s worst dictators, liberated 25 million people, helped them hold three national elections and write a constitution. They’ve been through some very difficult times themselves, but we kept at it, because it’s the right thing to do.

Q: Let me go back to the Americans. Two-thirds of Americans say it’s not worth fighting, and they’re looking at the value gain versus the cost in American lives, certainly, and Iraqi lives.\ \ \

THE VICE PRESIDENT: So?

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Q: So — you don’t care what the American people think?

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THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls. Think about what would have happened if Abraham Lincoln had paid attention to polls, if they had had polls during the Civil War. He never would have succeeded if he hadn’t had a clear objective, a vision for where he wanted to go, and he was willing to withstand the slings and arrows of the political wars in order to get there.

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… Q: Are you certain of victory?

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THE VICE PRESIDENT: You can’t, say — get up some morning and say, gee, the polls are critical of what we’re doing, and quit. It doesn’t work that way.

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Q: Are you certain of victory?

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THE VICE PRESIDENT: I am.

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Q: And what makes you so certain?

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THE VICE PRESIDENT: I am confident because I’ve worked over the years with both the Iraqi people that are involved, as well as the Americans that are involved; because I know the effort and the sacrifice that have been made by the men and women of the United States military; because I know and have watched people commit their lives in Iraq to this enterprise who have lost family members or been seriously threatened themselves by virtue of the fact they’ve been willing to sign on with Americans and be part of the enterprise.

Q: Can I do one more quick question that I forgot? Yesterday great reception with the troops. I know you talked to several of the troops there. We followed you in that rope line, and just asked people who they were supporting for President. Several said Barack Obama. I said, but he wants to get out of Iraq right away. And they said, that’s okay with me. These are the troops that you addressed yesterday themselves.

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THE VICE PRESIDENT: What’s the question?

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Q: Any reaction to that?

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THE VICE PRESIDENT: No.

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Q: It doesn’t bother you that some of the troops themselves want to get out of there?

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THE VICE PRESIDENT: They’re a broad cross section of America. I think they’ve overwhelmingly supported the mission. Every single one of them is a volunteer.

— Jon Ward, White House correspondent, The Washington Times